Friday the 13th Part III

Friday the 13th Part III ★★★★

"Sloth loves Chunk"

One day later...

Steve Miner gives us a direct follow-up to his previous Friday, so Saturday the 14th?

Not caring to beat the weekend traffic, Chris (Sweet Sixteen's Dana Kimmel) heads off to her family's crystal lakeside farmhouse - dragging along an assortment of friends including pregnant Debbie, her soon to be baby daddy Andy, his geekish friend Shelly, an immediately regretting it blind date in Vera, and random stoner couple Chuck and Chilli. To Chris, these people might as well be the random biker gang they run afoul, as she's there to get over a traumatic Jason attack from years earlier and hook up with former flame Rick. A body count brought along for no other reason than safety in numbers. At first Chris seems like the thoughtful, level headed member of the crew, but as the day progresses she spends more time generally ignoring them - only realizing that everyone's dead when its time for her requisite twenty minute big finish. Dana Kimmel's performance is strong, and the script does enough things to make her very sympathetic, but the Friday series refusal to acknowledge the intrinsic guilt of the characters responsible for these gatherings is a source of frustration.

Rather than the rapid montage of Part II, Part III opts to play a lengthy sequence from the end of the sequel to set up the events. After this clip show, Jason staggers off with a machete clean through the collar bone to find some new duds. Frontier medicine. Here he staggers to a roadside market to get things on track. Right from the start we're given a lengthy sequence of the market's owners wandering around slasher build-up, teasing the 3-D technology the film employed with snakes jumping out at the screen. Will those tetramin flakes give storeowner Henry a parasite? Can the diet Edna has him on lead to sustainable weight loss? Could the parasite help with that? What will Edna's hair look like without those curlers? The script by Martin Kitrosser and Carol Watson does a great job of using little details to flesh out slasher fodder.

With his new threads, Jason leaves that market a new man.

No longer a manic, lanky, fast figure - but now bulkier with the methodical pace of a Michael Myers and the strength to match. All that's missing is the iconic hockey mask, and fortunately Shelly brought one of those with him... because apparently the world before Friday the 13th Part III marketing found hockey players scary?

The series pitfall - order of death - once again rears its ugly head. While the failed character quirks of the shopkeepers added dimension, there is something ugly about the way the rest of the cast is dispatched on the cusp of some personal growth. I guess pregnant Debra does decide she doesn't want a beer, so she gets that - but with Jason as a walking billboard for not drinking while pregnant (in this one he's Sloth from the goonies), I kind of wish she'd had a sip just to work some sort of message in. Have Shelly realize that chicks dig confidence, or in looking at the picture of Shelly's Mom in his wallet, have Vera want to call home to make things right. With the exception of Chris taking on previous Final Girl Ginny's traumatic incident in a shoe horned backstory of character breaking through the sexualization of a manchild, Vera would have made a much better final girl. Instead, she's one of the first to experience the glory of 3D.

How the hell do the hippies last so long!? They're like 1's non-character Ben if he was a couple.
"Seriously, how did you last so long?"
"The crew forgot I was there."

These criticisms aside - Part III is second only to Jaws 3 on the magnificent 80s 3-D gimmick scale. Snakes, rats, joints, eyeballs (thanks replacement Crazy Ralph), flying eyeballs, chain wrapped fists, spear guns, the good old fashioned Yo-yo, and wooden handles... SO MANY WOODEN HANDLES. My only ACTUAL gripe with Part 3 is how they could have that magnificent Disco theme from Harry Manfredini and not use it throughout the entire film.

The finish sees the corpse of Mrs. Voorhees taking over for boy Jason in the coming out of the lake jump scare. Circling back to the initial "is the boy alive, or was it a dream," it ties the series two antagonists together nicely. I can't remember how much of the backstory is ever revealed, outside of the incredibly stupid stuff in Jason Goes To Hell - but its a shame they never explored the mystical aspects further. This could rock druids the way Halloween VI only wishes it could rock druids.

Body Count 12, not too shabby.

This is the one where the title shoots out of the severed head of Pamela Voorhees in spectacular 3-D. ...If only they'd hung onto the breaking glass start.

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